Unicef - One in five children across the Middle East and North Africa needs humanitarian aid

12 Sep 2017 09:59 AM

Nearly one in five children across the Middle East and North Africa need immediate humanitarian assistance, according to latest data and analysis. Over 90 per cent of these children live in countries affected by conflict.

“Conflict continues to rob millions of girls and boys of their childhood. Decades of progress are at a risk of being reversed across the Middle East and North Africa,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director.

Children have been hit hardest by ongoing years of violence, displacement and lack of basic services. Civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, energy, water, sanitation and hygiene installations have often come under attack, exposing children to the risk of death and diseases.

Millions of families were forced to flee their homes – some multiple times and under fire.  Continued violence and displacement have increasingly made it difficult for children and families to cope.

“With no end in sight to these conflicts and with families’ dwindling financial resources, many have no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early. The number of children affiliated with the fighting has more than doubled” said Cappelaere.

According to the latest analysis:

“Children in the Middle East and North Africa region have undergone unprecedented levels of violence and witnessed horrors that no one should witness. If violence and wars continue, the consequences- not only for the region- but for the world as a whole will be dire. World leaders must do much more to put an end to violence for the sake of boys and girls and their future” said Cappelaere.

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About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk